FAA Practical test pass rate down

Mayfield

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I was a DPE from 1991 until my retirement in 2020. My lifetime average pass rate was less than 70%. I administered several thousand tests to ESL (English second language) applicants so that may help explain the lower rate. In the latter years a very common reason for failing to meet the standard was lack of collision avoidance. They didn't look out the window! Inadequate crosswind control during takeoff and landing was also a common deficiency as was CFIT awareness. Failing to demonstrate good ADM was the proximate cause of many failures.

 
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As an applicant I had a 50% pass rate for Private Pilot, Rotorcraft Gyroplane, Commercial Pilot Rotorcraft Gyroplane and CFI Rotorcraft Gyroplane.

Private I missed a check point, Commercial I was not able to intercept a radial out bound and CFI I missed an endorsement when the examiner asked me to stop reading it out of the FAR/AIM.

I never had a chance to fail Sport Pilot Gyroplane.

As a flight instructor I have 100% pass rate for Sport Pilot Gyroplane, Private Pilot Rotorcraft Gyroplane, Commercial Pilot Rotorcraft Gyroplane and CFI Rotorcraft Gyroplane so far.
 
As an applicant I had a 50% pass rate for Private Pilot, Rotorcraft Gyroplane, Commercial Pilot Rotorcraft Gyroplane and CFI Rotorcraft Gyroplane.

Private I missed a check point, Commercial I was not able to intercept a radial out bound and CFI I missed an endorsement when the examiner asked me to stop reading it out of the FAR/AIM.

I never had a chance to fail Sport Pilot Gyroplane.

As a flight instructor I have 100% pass rate for Sport Pilot Gyroplane, Private Pilot Rotorcraft Gyroplane, Commercial Pilot Rotorcraft Gyroplane and CFI Rotorcraft Gyroplane so far.
How could you try to get a radial in a gyro? I didn't know gyros came with VOR/CDI capabilities?
 
How could you try to get a radial in a gyro? I didn't know gyros came with VOR/CDI capabilities?
I had a Garmin 696 in a borrowed Cavalon and I did not know how to use that capability well. I could have figured it out but not while watching for traffic in a very busy airspace. If I landed the test was over.

I came back a few days later and passed the test.

My 496 in The Predator intercepts radials as well.

There is some class C airspace near me where they prefer I call out the radial and my distance from the VOR because as low as I fly they have poor radar coverage and have a better idea of exactly where I am compared to "twenty miles North of the airport".
 
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I had a Garmin 696 in a borrowed Cavalon and I did not know how to use that capability well. I could have figured it out but not while watching for traffic in a very busy airspace. If I landed the test was over.

I came back a few days later and passed the test.

My 496 in The Predator intercepts radials as well.

There is some class C airspace near me where they prefer I call out the radial and my distance from the VOR because as low as I fly they have poor radar coverage and have a better idea of exactly where I am compared to "twenty miles North of the airport".
That's cool. I took instrument ground school on campus and I like the idea of being able to use a VOR to keep on target if/when GPS goes down.
 
That's cool. I took instrument ground school on campus and I like the idea of being able to use a VOR to keep on target if/when GPS goes down.
Unfortunately, VOR days are numbered and will soon disappear as NDBs. Just think over the past 70+ years how many multiple millions of hours of navigation and how many multiple millions of successful approaches have been performed using NDB, VOR, LOC, GS?

Wayne
 
Unfortunately, VOR days are numbered and will soon disappear as NDBs. Just think over the past 70+ years how many multiple millions of hours of navigation and how many multiple millions of successful approaches have been performed using NDB, VOR, LOC, GS?

Wayne
I would posit that eliminating the VOR system is a huge security mistake. GPS can be spoofed and jammed, and satellites can be shot down as demonstrated by the Chinese a couple of years back. Unless your SatNav understands GPS, GALLIELO, GLONASS, and BEIDOU, you're going to have problems if things come to that.

VOR and other non-satellite RNAV systems are a national security concern and need to be maintained. Yes, SatNav is more precise, but it is also more vulnerable.

I know people whose doctoral research is specifically in SatNav and the various security concerns. We should not eliminate non-satellite RNAV.
 
I would posit that eliminating the VOR system is a huge security mistake. GPS can be spoofed and jammed, and satellites can be shot down as demonstrated by the Chinese a couple of years back. Unless your SatNav understands GPS, GALLIELO, GLONASS, and BEIDOU, you're going to have problems if things come to that.

VOR and other non-satellite RNAV systems are a national security concern and need to be maintained. Yes, SatNav is more precise, but it is also more vulnerable.

I know people whose doctoral research is specifically in SatNav and the various security concerns. We should not eliminate non-satellite RNAV.
I'm in total agreement with you Glyn.

Wayne
 
I would posit that eliminating the VOR system is a huge security mistake. GPS can be spoofed and jammed, and satellites can be shot down as demonstrated by the Chinese a couple of years back. Unless your SatNav understands GPS, GALLIELO, GLONASS, and BEIDOU, you're going to have problems if things come to that.

VOR and other non-satellite RNAV systems are a national security concern and need to be maintained. Yes, SatNav is more precise, but it is also more vulnerable.

I know people whose doctoral research is specifically in SatNav and the various security concerns. We should not eliminate non-satellite RNAV.
All valid point, but something tells me gyro pilots will not be going for liesurly flights in an environment in which the Chinese are shooting down GPS satelites... ;)
 
All valid point, but something tells me gyro pilots will not be going for liesurly flights in an environment in which the Chinese are shooting down GPS satelites... ;)
True, but the lack of satellites will make GPS stop working everywhere.
 
I was a DPE from 1991 until my retirement in 2020. My lifetime average pass rate was less than 70%. I administered several thousand tests to ESL (English second language) applicants so that may help explain the lower rate. In the latter years a very common reason for failing to meet the standard was lack of collision avoidance. They didn't look out the window! Inadequate crosswind control during takeoff and landing was also a common deficiency as was CFIT awareness. Failing to demonstrate good ADM was the proximate cause of many failures.

These are real concerns, and I believe there is balance act all CFIs are doing. Nobody wants to be accused of milking the students for extra money, so as long as they are at PTS level, they start to question the need for extra training. Besides, we, ourselves, were probably marginal pilots at the time of our check ride, and only later became the "aces" we are today.

Tha being said, the task in front of the DPE is not an easy one, because there are some defnite "no-go" situations unrelated to eye-stick coordination ability.
 
I would posit that eliminating the VOR system is a huge security mistake. GPS can be spoofed and jammed, and satellites can be shot down as demonstrated by the Chinese a couple of years back. Unless your SatNav understands GPS, GALLIELO, GLONASS, and BEIDOU, you're going to have problems if things come to that.

VOR and other non-satellite RNAV systems are a national security concern and need to be maintained. Yes, SatNav is more precise, but it is also more vulnerable.

I know people whose doctoral research is specifically in SatNav and the various security concerns. We should not eliminate non-satellite RNAV.
My Garmin couldn’t find the VOR without satellite reception.

I fly with paper charts; it is cumbersome to figure out the radials in an open cockpit with one old eye.

We often have GPS interference in parts of California and Arizona and I have seen it in Florida and Texas.

I feel planning with charts helps my situational awareness and when flying in complex airspace I have the chart out.

I am grateful that there are people looking out for my security.
 
True, but the lack of satellites will make GPS stop working everywhere.
I am not an expert, but I do believe that this point s not lost on the military planners

All we have to do on our level is to know how to navigate with paper charts, or by visual references at least in our local area.
 
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Tha being said, the task in front of the DPE is not an easy one, because there are some defnite "no-go" situations unrelated to eye-stick coordination ability.
That is correct. As I review my career, I can remember a few cases where applicants failed to meet the stick and rudder standard, but for the most part those standards are pretty easy to meet, and most applicants did.

Of course, the occasional applicant would become overwhelmed and gain or lose 200 feet in a steep turn, but it was rare. Additionally, for me and most examiners I know, exceeding a standard is not necessarily a disapproval. Exceeding a standard without recognition, or exceeding a standard without correction, is.

Most failures resulted from pretty egregious brain farts. Failure to check the oil or sump the fuel during a pre-flight inspection. Not using a checklist during a pre-flight inspection. Not conducting a pre-flight inspection. Missing a checkpoint, requiring a course change, on a cross country and not executing lost procedures, etc.

The FAA has attempted to limit subjectivity during practical testing. The Flight Test Guide, then the PTS and now the ACS attempt to distill the standard into quantifiable tasks and objectives. Subjectivity remains however.

The FAA requires checklist usage in many of the tasks examined. But, and this is only my opinion, there are "checklists" and then there are "CHECKLISTS."

I have issued a notice of disapproval for failure to complete a cruise checklist in a high performance, turbocharged, manual waste gate airplane. I have only made a note to use during the debrief for failing to complete a cruise checklist in a C-150. And yes, I understand that the C-150 driver may someday be a C-421 driver. Perfection is not the standard.

Jim
 
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Unfortunately, VOR days are numbered and will soon disappear as NDBs. Just think over the past 70+ years how many multiple millions of hours of navigation and how many multiple millions of successful approaches have been performed using NDB, VOR, LOC, GS?

Wayne
Well, they're not ALL going away. The FAA has defined their Minimum Operational Network (MON) of VORs that they intend to keep. There are around 530 on the list, as I recall. Anything not on the MON will be retired the next time they need to be repaired. This has been going on for quite awhile. I remember more than 20 years ago being given a reroute to a VOR in north FL and I couldn't tune it in on either of my VHF radios. I told the controller that and his response was "Oh, yeah...that one flooded out a couple of years ago and they've never repaired it. Just use your VFR GPS to get there!"
 
In my corner of the aviation world, it's pretty rare to see an actual, independent VOR receiver and CDI display anymore. Without that nav receiver, most pilots would need a working gps which can identify a VOR site as just another spot in the database and then simulate VOR behavior from there. It wouldn't matter if the VOR ceased to exist because it's a completely synthetic process. That makes using it as a backup to gps illusory.
 
In my corner of the aviation world, it's pretty rare to see an actual, independent VOR receiver and CDI display anymore. Without that nav receiver, most pilots would need a working gps which can identify a VOR site as just another spot in the database and then simulate VOR behavior from there. It wouldn't matter if the VOR ceased to exist because it's a completely synthetic process. That makes using it as a backup to gps illusory.
Well, in most of the other corners of aviation ILS approaches are still the most commonly flown and for that VHF nav receivers are required. As such, they will exist for a very long time.
 
Sure. I just don't shoot many ILS approaches in gliders, balloons, gyroplanes, piston helicopters, floatplanes, or towplanes these days. If I'm on an ILS, it's likely with my tray table and seatback in the upright position.
 
Sure. I just don't shoot many ILS approaches in gliders, balloons, gyroplanes, piston helicopters, floatplanes, or towplanes these days. If I'm on an ILS, it's likely with my tray table and seatback in the upright position.
The FAA has a much broader view of aviation, thankfully. I bet you're pretty thankful when the crew up way up front of your tray table execute that ILS Cat II to perfection and get you to your destination on time despite that ground fog. That's why VHF equipment will continue to exist for a long time.
 
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